DR Congo: CAFOD director welcomes WHO announcement on Ebola

Archbishop Francois-Xavier Maroyi Rusengo greets Christin Allen - image CAFOD

Archbishop Francois-Xavier Maroyi Rusengo greets Christin Allen - image CAFOD

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has now declared the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) an international emergency.

CAFOD is already working with its local aid experts in Beni-Butembo, the epicentre of the Ebola outbreak, distributing supplies to treatment centres in the area, as well as working with 28 community groups on raising public awareness.

CAFOD's director Christine Allen arrived in the DRC this week and said: "We welcome the WHO declaration. Halting the spread of this appalling disease requires a massive effort, on the part of the international community as well as the Congolese people and health authorities.

"What is going to be critical is building trust within communities. The work of local aid agencies will be essential. We must make sure that they receive the funding needed to respond in their communities, where they are dispelling myths and making sure people understand how the Ebola virus is transmitted, how it is treated and how to prevent infection.

"I met the Archbishop of Bukavu, (Mgr Francois-Xavier Maroyi Rusengo) who told me that from Bukavu many people travel to the busy city of Goma for trading and business, as well as to visit relatives, so there is a fear of Ebola spreading further. But he told me that through the expansive local Catholic Church network there is a lot they can do to prevent the disease from spreading. The Church is able to get prevention messages out to parishes, through schools, and via their community radio stations. He says it is a massive challenge, but working together we can tackle the myths and save lives."

Christine Allen, CAFOD director, is in DR Congo this week, travelling with DRC Country Representative Bernard Balibuno. CAFOD has already pledged £80,000 to Caritas Beni and Caritas Butembo, to allow them to scale up an urgently needed awareness-raising campaign working with 28 community groups in the district. In the Ebola response in Sierra Leone and Liberia (2015), CAFOD published a report on the crucial role of faith leaders in the response.

Tags: Ebola, DR Congo, Christine Allen, CAFOD, Archbishop Francois-Xavier Maroyi Rusengo, Bukavu

We Need Your Support

ICN aims to provide speedy and accurate news coverage of all subjects of interest to Catholics and the wider Christian community. As our audience increases - so do our costs. We need your help to continue this work.

Please support our journalism by donating today.